What to Drink at Thanksgiving: Beer

Beer Pairings

Beer and food are better together.

20101118sofie.jpgThere are plenty of wonderful wine options to serve at Thanksgiving, but I think you should also consider beverages outside the vinuous world: namely, craft beer. Malty beer resonates beautifully with a roast turkey and the crispy top of herbed dressing. It can be an awesome pairing with pretty much everything you serve on Turkey Day from nuts to salad, potatoes, turkey, cranberries and pie.

Here are a few of my top Thanksgiving beer picks:

Chicago brewery Goose Island makes a number of Belgian-style beers that are super food-friendly. Sofie is the perfect choice to start your evening. Pour it into Champagne flutes and enjoy its tart, gently fruity flavor. This beer is refreshing and palate-cleansing, with delicate herbal notes that pair nicely with cheese, shrimp cocktail or oysters, and stuffing. It's approachable even for non-beer lovers.

Goose Island's Matilda will take you through the rest of the meal. It's more fall-like, with hints of caramel, but has a clean, crisp finish. It will go especially well with stuffing made with cornbread or sourdough, and its earthy character will complement mushrooms and turkey's dark meat.

For something even richer, I'd recommend bringing out the special bottle of Odell Brewing's Woodcut #4 that you've been saving. This oak aged double marzen-style lager has a deep toffee flavor without being oversweet. There's quite a bit of oak in the mix; adding a vanilla and almond note to the rich maltiness. This beer is amazing with turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes, savory stuffing, and toasted nuts sprinkled over green beans. With each sip, we were reminded of maple syrup poured on snow, and the boozy notes will please bourbon drinkers. I'd love to try this one with pecan pie.

While we're talking dessert, I highly recommend a bottle of Founder's Breakfast Stout. Though I'm also a fan of their more intense Kentucky Bourbon Stout, the Breakfast stout is a better pick for pairing with pie. It's deep and dark, with delicious coffee roastiness and dry cocoa notes. This beer is a little like a cold espresso: refreshing and invigorating, dark and delicious.

Looking for more perfect beer pairings for turkey, stuffing, and pie? Try these:

Beers to Pair with Thanksgiving »
Beers to Pair with Thanksgiving Pie »